Layoffs clouding the solar industry

A worker cleans an assembled solar panel


Scott Jagow: The U.S. solar industry's enjoyed phenomenal growth the past couple years. But suddenly, things don't look as sunny. Sarah Gardner has more on that from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.

Sarah Gardner: OptiSolar, Evergreen Solar, HelioVolt, SpectraWatt -- hardly household names, but they've all confirmed layoffs, factory closings or construction delays. Ausra, a well-financed solar thermal company in California, has reportedly laid off workers as well.

Rhone Resch leads the industry's main trade group:

Rhone Resch: We are in the midst of a recession, and the solar industry is not immune to the downturn in the economy. And we expect a real heavy downturn in the solar energy industry in 2009.

Solar panelmaker OptiSolar says it laid off nearly half its California workforce after failing to attract enough private financing. A spokesman blamed it on investors' current "aversion to risk."

Analysts say other firms are having trouble getting loans or expanded too quickly. Resch's group is currently lobbying Congress to re-think solar investment tax credits in favor of grants.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk covering sustainability news spots and features.
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Investing in Solar is great, but what we need to be doing is belling out the home owners that are in foreclosure.Reapprasing homes to there present worth.Providing them with a clean slate so they can spend money on maintaining their homes. Creating nonprofit capitol investment organization to help business startups.

Bailouts and tangible stimulus schemes may also help some, and the post-mortems on the economy would continue for several decades. But is time to find viable solutions? Businesses and banks still need bespoke turnaround survival strategies to reduce losses, improve organic and inorganic efficiency, increase revenue, gain sustainable competitive advantage, improve strategic positions, and outperform market competition. The results add real business values; create new business opportunities and jobs for investors who target undervalued growth sectors, niche and captive markets where consumer demand still continues to grow in double-digits annually to 2030. There are many solar and energy industry opportunities outside the US... http://www.FixyaExperts.com

Two important things to consider: 1. That all energy sources are not unlimitedly available. 2. That cost to produce the energy must be correlated with the value of the energy produced, and that cost should include not just money costs.
It should be noted also that we live in a system whose arteries are filled with a need to pursue an assumed unlimited growth, and that our government primarily reflects whatever money/power dictates, consequently, even alternative/renewable industries are capable of and motivated to be on the government dole. That means costs and consequences are often overlooked in media discussion.

Interestingly, these layoffs don't seem to have affected any of the solar companies here in Toledo, like Xunlight or First Solar. In fact, FSLR is currently expanding their local facilities.

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